What are Saturn’s rings made of?

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What are Saturn’s rings made of?

Saturn is not the only ringed planet in the Solar System. Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune are also endowed with these spectacular circular structures, but there is no doubt that the brightest and most massive ring system we all know is Saturn’s. Why? Its secret lies the material it’s made of: ice.

The Saturnian rings are 15 times wider than the Earth but only 2 kilometres thick. They are composed of millions of particles that revolve around the sixth planet in the Solar System. Unlike the rest of giant gas planets, the rings of which are mostly made of rock, Saturn’s rings are made up of ice particles or chunks of frozen rock to a 95 %. Hence its unique appearance: the ice shines as it reflects sunlight.

Another interesting feature of these particles is their size: some of them are mere specks of dust (barely a micron wide); some are as big as a mountain (hundreds of metres large). All of them move smoothly, spinning around Saturn just as the Moon revolves around our planet following a perfect trajectory.